How We Make Employee Appraisals Work: Tips from a Pro Admin

Posted by Renee • August 20, 2015 (Last modified June 6, 2022) • 3 min read

Whether you are new to completing online employee appraisals or they are a staple of your human resources program –  a new perspective is always helpful. We think our administrators are our greatest resources when it comes to best practices and strategy. It is always nice to hear from a pro who has been there and can provide some insight into what works well and how to get employees and managers engaged.

Today that pro is long-time Trakstar Administrator Kerri, the EVP of Human Resources at Citizens Telephone Cooperative. CTC is a regional full service communications provider who has been using Trakstar since 2011. Kerri shares some reasons why they encourage note taking throughout the year as well as some recent changes made to their appraisal form.


Trakstar: Why do you think your appraisals are working?
Kerri: We have encouraged employees to add notes throughout the year in order to make the rating process quick and easy (monthly reminders have helped with this).  We use this PM [performance management] tool to link pay to performance so we are finding employees [are] putting more time and effort into providing valid examples.”

Year-round feedback is becoming more popular with companies of all sizes. As Kerri mentioned above, having a year’s worth of notes to pull from to complete the appraisal tends to make the review process much quicker. Not to mention much more comprehensive by including examples from the whole year.  A manager providing year-round feedback via notes also allows for the employee to track their performance and encourages engagement and discussion outside of the often stressful review period.

Trakstar: How do managers feel about appraisals?
Kerri: I think managers would agree it’s a good tool as well.  It took everyone awhile to get used to the process and what counts as exceeds [expectation] examples.  A lot of time we found employees didn’t want to brag on themselves but it’s getting easier for everyone now.  This year we made each competency count as the same percentage which has helped a lot as far as getting examples in the correct place versus putting them [under] another competency that has a higher percentage.”

Many online appraisal tools allow administrators to control the weighting of each element on an employee appraisal. Some companies choose weight a goals section or their core competencies higher so that they factor in as a greater part of the overall performance rating.

CTC has chosen to weight all elements of their appraisal forms evenly. By doing so they do not allow for employees and managers to select a higher (or lower) rating on more heavily weighted elements to inflate or deflate a score. As Kerri explains this has really helped in procuring more accurate reviews with scores and comments awarded on the work done rather than being influenced by the weight of the element.  It also allows for a more even playing field when your employees have a diverse skill set but are using the same appraisal form.


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